Identification of leadership style of enrollment management professionals in post secondary institutions in the southern United States



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Texas Tech University


This study evaluated leadership style of enrollment managers employed at post secondary institutions in the southern United States. Enrollment management seeks to influence enrollment by analyzing and monitoring the size and characteristics of the student body. Enrollment managers coordinate numerous functions associated with recruiting, retaining, funding, and tracking students. Individuals who supervised both the undergraduate admissions office and student financial aid office were included in the study. The sample size was 397, of which 203 (51%) responded by submitting a completed survey. Of the 203 responses, 118 (58%) met the selection criteria and were used in the data analyses. Participants completed the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) Form 5X – Short (Revised), developed by Bruce J. Avolio and Bernard M. Bass, and were categorized as having either transactional leadership style or transformational leadership style. Transactional leadership is based on exchange and uses reward or punishment to manipulate followers into performing tasks. Transformational leadership seeks to influence the values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of followers by working with and through them to accomplish the college’s mission and purpose. Additionally, leadership style was compared with the participant’s gender, type of employing institution, level of education, years of leadership experience, and student enrollment at the employing institution. Results gleaned from this study suggest there is not a statistically significant association between leadership style and the participant’s gender (p = 0.276), their type of institution (either two-year or four-year, p = 0.412; public or private, p = 0.685), and their levels of education (p = 0.635). Additionally, an independent samples t-test demonstrated that leadership style and fall 2004 student enrollment at the employing institution were not correlated (p = 0.335). There was, however, statistical support of a dependent relationship between an enrollment manager’s years of supervisory experience and their leadership style (p = 0.032). This finding supports the theory that leadership behaviors and characteristics can be learned. It provides a basis upon which administrators may justify the allocation of resources for leadership development.